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Abortion: Where Has Morality Gone? – Essay Sample

Abortion: Where Has Morality Gone? – Essay Sample

Joan Didion’s essay, “On Morality,” poses the question, “What is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong,’ what is ‘good’ and what ‘evil’?” (182). In today’s society, often times many people do not even consider this question before taking certain actions, because the subject of morality has become a gray area in which morality can scarcely be defined. For instance, Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines morality as “the quality of being in accord with standards of right or good conduct.” However, everyone has a different opinion of right and wrong. This difference of opinion on what is moral causes many disputes such as in the topic of abortion. Some people believe it is a woman’s prerogative to choose whether or not to have a child, while still many others believe it is “morally” wrong. On the other hand, there are moderates who disagree with the idea or the morality of abortion, but agree that there are certain circumstances that should give the woman the option. Since abortion is essentially the killing of an unborn child, why are women who abort not convicted as murderers; just as women who kill their children face such charges? Morality should be a standard at all times and abortion should be no exception. In fact, abortion is destroying the life of a child; therefore, it should be considered morally wrong, except when extenuating circumstances leave no other choice for the woman.

While deciding whether to be pro-life or pro-choice, many people consider the moral aspect of abortion and its consequences. On the pro-choice side, a woman should have the right to choose whether or not she wants to give birth. The argument is that it is her body and she is the one who will have the responsibility of caring for that child. The problem, however, with this argument is that it does not take into consideration whether abortion is right or wrong, and it does not deal with the morality of the issue. However, the arguments of the pro-life side may be more correct simply because they make a moral judgment. In Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, abortion is defined as the “termination of a pregnancy often accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of an embryo or fetus.” It is the killing of an unborn child. Although morality is hard to define, the vast majority of society agrees that murder is wrong; therefore, abortion should be considered immoral as well. In Carol Gilligan’s essay, “Concepts of Self and Morality,” a college student responds to the question of what morality should be by saying, “The basic idea that I cling to is the sanctity of human life” (171). There should not be a question of choice in the matter of abortion, because when a woman chooses to have an abortion, she forgets the sanctity of human life and she forgets her morals, which is, definitely, wrong.

Consequently, pro-lifers correctly believe that when a woman is pregnant, it should not be time to come to a choice of whether or not to have that child; she has already made that choice, by being pregnant. “The essence of moral decision is the exercise of choice and the willingness to accept responsibility for that choice” (Gilligan 172). The woman has already made the choice to have sexual intercourse and it is up to her to accept responsibility for that choice. Another student in Carol Gilligan’s essay responds to the question, “What does it mean to say something is morally right or wrong?” Her response is, “It has to do with responsibilities and obligations and values, mainly values” (170). When a woman becomes pregnant, she has to accept the obligation that comes with it. Where have a woman’s values gone if she can consciously make the choice to kill a child that is growing inside her and is part of her own body?

Nevertheless, although there is no doubt that abortion is immoral, there are certain circumstances where it may be acceptable to perform abortions. For example, if a woman’s life is threatened by her giving birth, then an abortion should be performed to save her life. Another example is if a woman is raped and she becomes pregnant as a consequence of that rape, then it is understandable that she would not want to give birth and care for that child, because it will always bring back memories of the horrible incident. However, as a student says in Gilligan’s essay, “A viable society can’t make exceptions all the time” (Gilligan 170), other than these specific situations, abortions should not be performed.

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